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Archive for October, 2006

The Unresolved


by T.K. Welsh – I picked this one up because I love history and I love ghost stories, and this is both. I admit, I was also curious to see if Welsh could pull off what Katharine Weber couldn’t in Triangle — successfully combining authentic NYC history with a story that appeals to teens. I think Welsh has succeeded admirably here.

From the publisher:
Mallory Meer has just turned fifteen years old, and within an hour, thanks to the only boy she’s ever loved, she’ll be dead, a victim of the General Slocum steamship disaster. Bound by love to her grieving family, and outraged by the multitude of senseless deaths, Mallory haunts those responsible for the tragedy, determined to see that justice is served.

Young love doomed, a horrific tragedy, and a ghost bound to earth by the terrible event. What more could you ask for? I sped through the first few chapters and then read the end. This is the ultimate test of the “goodness” of a book for me — if I can read the end and then still want to go back and finish the rest of the book, it’s a good’un. The Unresolved is a great one. Mallory is the most well-developed ghostly character I’ve seen in a long, long time…maybe even since my Blossom Culp days. I can’t recall another story where I’ve felt so connected to the ghost, and I was particularly impressed with the way Welsh moved Mallory in and out of other characters and told their stories in that way. Welsh skillfully manipulates emotions and develops characters through the relatively short novel, and I found myself genuinely caring about these people.

My only quibble, and there’s always one, is with the names. We have “Mallory” and “Dustin” — both German, one Lutheran and one Jewish. The names just struck me as very WB and not in sync with the time (early 1900s). I did a little research and found the name Mallory is French, and didn’t come into regular use until the 1960s. Dustin is derived from the Scandinavian, but didn’t come into common use until the 1940s. It seems like Welsh just picked the names out of the air. But, this is a small quibble, and certainly not enough to keep you from reading this fabulous story.

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Book Challenge


I’m swiping this from one of my favorite non-library blogs, Creating Passionate Users. You can see the original challenge here. My challenge is a little simpler. I don’t want to know your reasons, unless you want to share. And you can list more than one book. Here we go…

What is the one book you wish everyone would read? It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, but a book that made some sort of impact on you and the way you live your life, or do your work, or treat your kids, etc. And you can modify the request any way you want.

My choices? For right now in this very moment of my career, it would be Sustaining Innovation by Paul Light. For my personal life, I would select Peace Like a River by Leif Enger for its themes of renewal, forgiveness and miracles.

So what are your choices?

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The Cybils


I’ve been selected to serve as a judge for the first annual CYBIL Awards. This is new award for childrens and YA books selected by bloggers. I’m a judge for the YA fiction category, which means that I, along with four other brave souls, get 5 or so books in January to read and judge. I’m really pumped about doing this, not only because I love the YA genre but because I love things like this that make me read outside my comfort zone. Gonna be some fun….

Other YA judges are

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The Lightning Thief


One of the clearest memories I have of elementary school is my 6th grade teacher reading the story of Persephone, Demeter and Hades to the class from Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. The Greek gods captivated me from the start. After that day in class, I scoured the library for every book even remotely hinting of Greek mythology, so you can imagine my delight when I picked up The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. The gods, alive and well in Manhattan? Monsters and godlings among us? A dangerous quest? Oh yeah!

Percy Jackson isn’t like other kids, a thought that becomes fact when, in the first chapter, he turns his evil Math teacher to dust with a ballpoint-pen-turned-sword. His life goes from bad to worse when he’s sent home from boarding school with an invitation not to return next year. Living with his stepfather, Smelly Gabe, is even worse than boarding school, but life gets even more complicated when Percy and his mother are attacked by The Minotaur while fleeing to the safety of Camp Half Blood, a training ground for demi-gods. Percy soon learns that his real father is the god Poseidon, and he is potentially one of the most powerful “heroes” to come along in years. But all is not well on Mt. Olympus. Someone has stolen Zeus’ thunderbolt, a most powerful weapon, and all fingers point to Percy. To prove his innocence, Percy, along with Daughter-of-Athena Annabeth and a satyr named Grover, embarks on a dangerous quest to the Underworld, where he learns a thing or two about friendship, trust and self-worth.

Action abounds from the first pages of this book. Great characters, great story, superb writing. My only quibble comes from the feeling I kept getting that I was reading a Harry Potter book. We have a boy who never fit in, finding out he has remarkable powers, teaming up with a smart, sassy girl who has equally strong powers and a less talented but very amusing third boy — all sent off on a quest to recover something very powerful that, if in the wrong hands, could mean the end of the world. Throw into the mix a mysterious, powerful, and dangerous evil thing that everyone thought was dead and we have…..Sorceror’s Stone, anyone? Even the typeface used for the chapter headings was the same as in the HP books.

Despite the similarities to HP, The Lightning Thief was a fabulous read, and I can’t see any kid putting it down. Read the first chapter to a class and I guarantee they’ll be in the library looking for this one.

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